‘I had everything I had dreamed of, but I was not happy. Then I realised those were not really my dreams. They were the dreams of those around me, and I had lived them for them. Now it is time to figure out what mine are and finally live them. So that I can be happy.’ (traveler)
We were about 25 volunteers in the park, except for the permanent staff, and we soon started to share stories and connect with each other. Silviu was sharing his experience with the 7th Path Self-Hypnosis with some of them and quite soon people started to ask us if we could teach them as well. Within an evening a group of 11 gathered and we had the privilege of spending another weekend teaching it again, as we had hoped a short while before. It was a truly special group, and we knew it wasn’t random that those exact people were gathered together in that exact park at that exact time (we are strong believers of what Master Oogway shares with us in the wise movie Kung Fu Panda: ‘There are no accidents!’). We were all there for more or less the same reasons (to learn about ourselves, to grow, to let go of the past and embrace the future) so it was a great environment in which people felt safe to share and be vulnerable. It was beautiful! Silviu spent time teaching some of the volunteers massage techniques as well, so we were really happy we were able to share some of our knowledge and skills with all of them fantastic people.
We had planned to be in the park for just two weeks, but in the end Boca and I stayed 18 days and Silviu… well Silviu decided to stay even longer. The big Hare Krishna guru was coming to the Park for a 3 day convention, so after reading enough scriptures Silviu thought he wanted to meet the guru and interact with him a bit. So he stayed on and continued his amazing learning and growing journey, teaching massage, continuing to wake up at 5, doing yoga and meditation, sharing with others and preparing for the gugu’s coming. He ended up staying in the park for 31 days, which he would safely say have been simply transformational to his life. And we can testify for that:).
When we left the park it literally felt like leaving family, and it was not a tearless affair. It amazed us how such loving relationships could be created in such a short period of time, and how much we could learn from the people and the interactions with them in the park.
Individuals from all walks of life came through the gate almost every day, some with a clear plan of how long they were going to be there, others just looking for something and hoping they could find it there. Others running from something and hoping they would find reasons to stop. It amazed me how many of the stories were repetitive, and how many times I had heard them in the last 4 months of travel:
‘I’ve quit my job and am now traveling to figure out what I really want to do in life.’
‘I was tired of my pathetic little life and needed a change to make me wake up and enjoy life again.’
‘I am looking for my real self. I have to find myself because before I do that I just cannot be happy. If I dont know who I am I cannot know what will make me feel fulfilled, make me feel i’m truly living my purpose.’
‘I woke up one morning crying and I remember thinking to myself that this was a fraud. I was a fraud, for living a life I didn’t want, just because I was afraid. Afraid to make the move to change it, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what I would think of myself leaving my partner, the career I had built … everything that had once made me proud, but was now making me sick. I had to leave, so that I could be happy. And it was the best decision of my life’
‘The things I did in the last two months… I had never ever thought I’d be able to do such things. I thought that would not be ‘me’. But now, looking back, I feel I had been living someone else’s life for the past 35 years. I feel I had been asleep for my entire life, and only woke up 2 months ago… when I started this journey. And now, for the first time in years, I am happy. Truly happy!’
I could not help but notice the similarities in all these stories, and how the recurring motif was ‘I want to be happy. And for that I need to find myself first’. Some people feel the need to go out into the world to realize who they really are and what their purpose in life is, because they need a change of scenery and a certain environment. Others do not feel the need to go anywhere, but find themselves while at home. What’s important is to realize that no matter how far we go, the only place we can find what we’re looking for is inside, deep within us. And the good news is we’re not going anywhere, we’re always there, ready to be found any time:).
Another great lesson in the park was that of giving without waiting for anything in return. There is no need to wait for the ‘reward’ because it will definitely come, that’s just the way things work – it’s the law of giving and receiving. It will not come when or who you expect it to come from, that’s for sure, and expecting that will lead to nothing but frustration, as it usually happens with unfulfilled expectations. What we believe is that whatever you are giving will come back to you many fold through unexpected ways. A simplistic illustration of this is an example from the park: Paula helped Carmen with her Spanish, then Carmen gave Valerie a haircut, then Valerie made a bracelet for Julie, then Julie gave Boca and me a jumper, then we taught Paula the 7th Path Self-Hypnosis. Mechanisms like this move in unexpected ways, but the certitude we have is they do indeed move! 🙂
We came across this book in the park: ‘The voice of knowledge’ by Don Miguel Ruiz… If there’s one book I recommend more than any other, it is this one. I might write a post about it soon, but the short answer to ‘What is it about?’ is this: the truth. The truth in our lives, about out lives. The truth of our lives. And indeed… the truth does set us free:).
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